Tuscarora shuts down Iowa foam plant
NEW BRIGHTON, PA. - Tuscarora Inc., a large maker of plastic protective packaging, is closing a small plant in Storm Lake, Iowa, that had dwindled in size to 10 employees.
The 43,000-square-foot facility had opened in 1996, molding expanded polypropylene foam for customers in technology and other industries. At its peak the plant had 30 workers and served high-tech customers such as computer maker Gateway Inc. and those in the recreational vehicle industry.
The workforce had been reduced in recent years due to the softness in the U.S. economy and the proximity of larger Tuscarora foam molding plants in the region, President David O'Leary said in a news release.
Workers were notified in July that the facility would close by the end of September, with tooling and inventory being transferred to other Tuscarora plants.
Tuscarora is a division of European packaging company Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget of Stockholm, Sweden. The New Brighton company has been on an acquisition spree during the past several years and has consolidated several manufacturing facilities to lower costs.
The company recorded about $300 million in sales last year.
Smurfit-Stone adds 7-layer film line
BRAMPTON, ONTARIO - Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. has installed the company's first seven-layer coextrusion line at its Brampton plant and plans to use it to make high-performance film for food products.
The Battenfeld coextrusion equipment will help the facility provide oxygen and moisture barriers with sealant substrates in its performance films, said Manuel Garces, Smurfit-Stone product sales manager for performance films.
The seven-layer polyethylene film primarily is used with food products such as cereal-box liners, snack bags, cheese wrappings and meat and poultry packaging. The 155,000-square-foot plant also makes industrial film and heavy-duty shipping sacks.
Seven-layer film is gaining momentum in packaging because it provides longer shelf life for products, Garces said.
``The higher the number of layers, the more the flexibility to combine different substrates of different properties and combine them into one piece of film,'' he said Aug. 14. ``That's what's driving the coextrusion industry.''
The facility now has four coextrusion lines offering between three and seven film layers and several other lines, Garces said.
Chicago-based Smurfit Stone bought the Brampton plant in December 2001 from Brampton-based AT Plastics Inc.
Southern Film builds $8.5 million plant
HIGH POINT, N.C. - Southern Film Extruders Inc. is building an $8.5 million coextrusion facility, its third.
The 45,000-square-foot plant, in High Point, will start with 12 employees when it starts production in the fourth quarter. The company plans to add another 12 employees next year.
``This plant will increase capacity by 30 million pounds per year,'' said John Barnes, vice president of finance at High Point-based Southern Film.
The company expects to spend $6 million for equipment and $2.5 million for the building.
The firm employs 164 at two plants that operate 25 lines with a total output of 70 million pounds per year of polyethylene. The plants are in High Point and Fort Pierce, Fla. Markets include packaging, release sheets, shrink films and masking films.
Southern Film had film sales of $51 million in 2001.
Bayer buys out Degussa in Makroform JV
LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - Degussa AG has pulled out of polycarbonate sheet to focus on its Plexiglas acrylic products.
In mid-July, Degussa subsidiary R"hm GmbH, based in Dsseldorf, Germany, sold its 45.5 percent share in PET and PC sheet production joint venture Makroform GmbH to its partner, Bayer AG of Leverkusen.
Makroform, based in Darmstadt, Germany, formed in July 2000 when the two German groups pooled their PC and PET extrusion semifinished product operations.
In Germany, the venture has former Degussa production units in Darmstadt and Weiterstadt as well as the ex-Bayer businesses of Axxis NV in Tielt, Belgium, and Carbolux SpA in Nera Montoro, Italy.
Makroform employs 300 and does annual sales of about 100 million euros ($115 million). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.